Prof. Mari Fitzduff, who I’m honored to call a friend, set me thinking the other day when she commented on a proposed speech I wrote for President Obama to substitute for the one he gave in Cairo. But before I share our exchange, you need to know that Mari is the director of the Conflict and Coexistence Program at Brandeis University, where she moved after many years as director of INCORE, the International Conflict Research Institute in (as she always says it to avoid taking sides) “Derry/Londonderry,” Northern Ireland. In that role she played an important part in the years and years of mediation that finally brought a blessed end to that terrible conflict. Read more
Our innate fear and contempt of strangers often turns ugly. Now it’s China’s turn.
A charismatic president who blends two major races has had a healing effect on the wounds of a secular racial conflict in the United States. At the moment he is in Ghana visiting and speaking—eloquently as always— Read more
Why we need a science of war and terror
Today I will try to address some of the comments about biology and violence that were provoked by my recent postings, and perhaps clarify how I think about these things. It is right to ask whether we gain anything from saying that humans are innately violent,
Is terrorism really “unnatural”?
I watched in sadness but, alas, not in shock, as India suffered its own 9/11. Casualties were far fewer but the impact was similar because the action was brilliantly as well as savagely executed.
Barack Obama, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the rebirth of the dream.
At this writing, Barack Obama seems set to win the most important position in the nation and the world. In June, when he won the nomination, I wrote “The Long View,” about how, in anthropological perspective, history had been made.
War is always a shock to the heart, but it should not be a shock to the mind.
In the past few days, war has broken out between Russia and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, a shocking yet somehow predictable outcome. Right after the collapse of the USSR,
Obama and McCain have different ideas about war. Neither may be able to prevent it.
Is war a permanent part of the human condition?
I’ve been interested in this question since high school, when an inspiring teacher named Dora Venit spent two years confronting me with the grotesque facts of history. It was not very long after the Holocaust, and the height of the Cold War.